My first experience with the Wellness Council of Wisconsin came during the annual worksite wellness conference while working on my bachelor’s degree at UW Stevens Point. As a student in the Health Promotion and Wellness program, I had the pleasure of helping the day of the conference by checking in attendees and introducing breakout speakers. I met some amazing and likeminded people from around the state, learned about some cutting-edge research and compelling stories from the presenters, and ate some very fantastic food. I quickly learned about the incredible value WCWI brought to workplaces around the state of Wisconsin and the sense of community they build between professionals and their respective organizations. I knew right then I wanted to be part of this.
I began regularly going to the annual conference and soaking up all the information and resources from all who were there. During one of the keynotes, I was blindsided by a question that would change me in a special way. Vic Strecher asked the audience, “What is your purpose?” At the time I felt like I knew myself pretty well and lived a life I loved. But that question made me realize that something was in fact missing from my life – a personal purpose statement. I took this idea and literally ran with it. I developed my purpose statement, memorized it, and made sure that my thoughts, beliefs and choices aligned with it. This helped shape my mindset which I used with a variety of clients and organizations.
Living with purpose lit a fire within me and I began researching other aspects of wellbeing through more philosophical approaches such as gratitude, optimism, hope and happiness, and how each is interwoven into the fabric of our health. As I conducted this research, I found new and innovative ways to deliver programs and empower people to improve their health and wellbeing. Using the WELCOA 7 Benchmarks, I leveraged the power of purpose, passion, and positivity to help manage the change process for employees and organizations alike. Being part of WCWI has helped me innovate and strategize in a variety of ways to help meet the needs of my clients.
At the 2015 Annual Worksite Wellness Conference, the WCWI gave me the pleasure of sharing some of my ideas and stories about how we can turn obstacles into opportunities through developing a growth mindset, cultivating courage and building meaningful relationships. I found that each employee has a story to be told, and that as a practitioner, it’s not my job to define what health and wellness means for someone. Rather, it is my duty to empower people to authentically define what health and wellness means to them, and support them as they pave the path towards their own purpose. Organizations of all kinds (e.g. manufacturing, corporate, academics and military) have been quite receptive to this non-traditional approach. I believe it’s because having purpose produces a strong sense of clarity, connection and commitment to ourselves, peers and organizations. This creates the right conditions for a healthy workplace culture and climate, but most importantly a healthy life.
After working with Jessica, Lisa, Katie and Laura from the WCWI, I am amazed at the quality and quantity of all that they accomplish each year throughout Wisconsin. I’ve come to realize that the premium programs, exciting events and turnkey resources are top notch because they are an extraordinary team with big hearts and iron willpower. WCWI would not be successful without them. I’m very thankful for all they do and looking forward to creating some amazing experiences with all of you in the WCWI cohort.